Booster break down: What you need to know about the COVID booster shot

by Health Mart

The roll out of COVID-19 boosters has already started, and with the development of new variants every now and then, it becomes all the more important to keep ourselves as safe and protected as possible. 

Despite the risk the virus continues to bring, some are iffy and maybe even hesitant to get the booster. Reasons like “I already got two doses,” “I don’t want to experience the side effects again,” or even “I already have antibodies from contracting COVID” might seem enough reason to pass up on the extra doses, but keeping ourselves protected all throughout the pandemic is our way of keeping others protected too, and hopefully eradicating the virus once and for all. 

So, before you get the booster, here’s what you need to know:

  • Why do I still need a booster shot?

  • While the initial vaccines work in saving us from severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus, experts are starting to see lessened protection even against less severe cases. It helps improve, or at the very least maintain the previous protection we got, as this decreases over time.

  • I just got fully vaccinated. How soon can I get my booster?

  • It is recommended that you get your booster at least six months after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, and at least two months after for those who are fully vaccinated with a single-dose vaccine.

  • Do boosters have the same formulations as the initial vaccines?

  • Yes, they do—except for Moderna boosters, which is half the dose of the first series of vaccination.

  • Are there any expected risks or side effects from the booster?

  • Those who have gotten their booster shots reported the same reactions from their two-shot or one-shot series of vaccines. These side effects include pain at the injection site, fatigue, fever, and headache, and they were said to just be within the mild to moderate range. However, just as it was with the initial series, severe side effects, while rare, may still occur.

  • Is there a difference between a booster and an additional dose? 

  • Yes, a booster is given to those who complete their first series of vaccinations, be it one dose or two doses. Over time, as protection decreases, those who have completed their first round of vaccinations may need to strengthen their barrier of protection.

    On the other hand, additional doses are given to those moderately to severely immunocompromised during their first series. It’s given with the intention of improving this group’s response to the initial recommended dosage. Just as it is with boosters, additional doses may be of a different brand from the initial vaccination series.

    And once you’ve gotten the booster, just as it was with your first series of vaccination, remember that health protocols remain the same: take your vitamins, maintain proper hygiene, wear masks, and practice social distancing.

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  • Information listed above is general and may not apply to everyone. For more specific questions and concerns, consult your attending physician.
  • Information on COVID-19 is constantly changing and new studies are coming up every now and then. For the latest updates, check out the CDC’s website.

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